Schizoaffective disorder: schizophrenia and mood changes

Schizoaffective disorder: schizophrenia and mood changes

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The Schizoaffective Disorder It is a mental condition that is characterized by causing loss of contact with reality (psychosis) and at the same time recurrent episodes of mood disorder (manic or depressive).

It can include distortions in alternating perception, simultaneously with episodes of intermittent mood change. The deterioration in the perception or expression of reality can affect the five senses, but mostly it manifests itself in the form of auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions or disorganized speech and thought, with significant social or occupational dysfunction.

The presence of alterations in the change of mood is shown within a previous psychotic disease and generally stable. In addition, these mood episodes are present in most of the total duration of the disease, which may include either one or both of the following characteristics:

  • Major depressive episode (must include depressed mood)
  • Manic episode


  • 1 Diagnostic criteria
  • 2 Guidelines for the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder
  • 3 Manic-type schizoaffective disorder
  • 4 Schizoaffective depressive disorder
  • 5 Treatment of schizoaffective disorder

Diagnostic criteria

The criteria of psychotic disease resembles the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia, which requires at least two of the following symptoms, for at least one month:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized or incoherent language
  • disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms (for example, affective flattening, praise, abulia)

The appearance of delusions or hallucinations must be present for at least 2 weeks. Mood disorder also has to be present for a significant part of the time. The symptoms of this disorder cannot be better explained by the use or abuse of substances (alcohol, drugs, medications) or a medical illness (stroke).

If mood symptoms are present only for a relatively short period, the diagnosis is schizophrenia, not schizoaffective disorder.

In these cases, normal functioning deteriorates frequently, but this is not a criterion that defines it (in contrast to schizophrenia). Social contact is diminished and difficulties with self-care appear, but the negative symptoms may be less severe and less persistent than those observed in schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is less common than schizophrenia.

Patients who suffer recurrent schizoaffective episodes, particularly those whose symptoms are manic rather than depressive, generally recover completely and only rarely develop a defective state.

Guidelines for the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder

The manifestations of both types of symptoms, schizophrenic and affective, are clear and prominent and occur simultaneously or within a few days between each other, within the same episode of the disease, and when, as a consequence of the above, the disease episode does not meet the guidelines of either schizophrenia or depressive or manic episode. It is common, for example, for schizophrenics to have depressive symptoms after a psychotic episode. Some patients have recurrent schizoaffective episodes, which can be manic, depressive or mixed. Others have one or two schizoaffective episodes interspersed between typical manic or depressive episodes.

Manic-type schizoaffective disorder

Disorder in which schizophrenic and manic symptoms are highlighted in the same disease episode. Mood disturbance is usually in the form of euphoria accompanied by increased self-esteem and ideas of greatness, but sometimes excitement or irritability are more evident, accompanied by aggressive behavior and persecution ideas. In both cases there is a increased vitality, hyperactivity, concentration difficulties and a loss of normal social inhibition.

Delusional ideas of reference, greatness or persecution may be present, but other more typically schizophrenic symptoms are required to establish the diagnosis. The patient may insist, for example, that his thoughts are being diffused or intercepted, or that strange forces are trying to control them, or may refer to hearing voices of various kinds, or expressing strange delusions that are not only of greatness or persecution. .

Manic-type schizoaffective disorders are often florid psychosis with an acute onset, but full recovery usually takes place in a few weeks, even though the behavior is altered in a striking way.

Schizoaffective Depressive Disorder

Disorder in which schizophrenic and depressive symptoms are highlighted in the same disease episode. Mood depression is usually accompanied by several characteristic depressive symptoms or behavioral disorders such as psychomotor inhibition, insomnia, loss of vitality, appetite or weight, reduction in habitual interests, concentration difficulties, feelings of guilt, hopelessness and Suicide ideas Other typically schizophrenic symptoms are present at the same time or within the same episode. The patient may insist, for example, that his thoughts are being diffused or intercepted, or that strange forces are trying to control him. He may be convinced that he is being spied on or of being a victim of a plot that is not justified by his behavior, or of hearing voices that are not only derogatory or condemning but also talk about killing him or commenting on his behavior. Schizoaffective depressive disorders are usually less florid and alarming than schizoaffective episodes of manic type., but they tend to last longer and the prognosis is less favorable. Although most patients recover completely, some develop schizophrenic deterioration over time.

Treatment of schizoaffective disorder

The treatment in these cases may vary. Usually, the psychiatrist will prescribe medications to improve mood and treat psychosis at the same time.

The antipsychotic medications They are used for the treatment of psychotic symptoms.

The antidepressant medications or mood stabilizers may be prescribed to improve mood.

Psychotherapy can help with the creation of plans, problem solving and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. Group therapy can help with social isolation.

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